What can do if a reasonable accommodation under he ADA, is not being made?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can do if a reasonable accommodation under he ADA, is not being made?

Years ago I had a cycling accident facilitated the need for a reconstructive plate to be implanted into my hip. I have since developed osteoarthritis in my hip where the pain can range from mild discomfort to outright painful. I have a note from my doctor that states that because of the arthritis, an adjustable desk standing/sitting could help reduce the amount of discomfort I experience in a day. Every time I have submitted the paperwork they have come back with a request for additional paperwork, which I have completed and submitted. It has been 3 years and still no desk. After the first year I started submitting the requests annually. Originally the reason for not providing an adjustable desk was they had no policy, then it was they did not know where to get desks for cubicles, so I provided a link to a company that has adjustable desks for any office configuration. Currently I have a box that I place on my desk to elevate my keyboard and mouse but it is not really the right height and is doing more to add to my discomfort than alleviate it. I looked at the ADA stuff I could find online and feel that an adjustable desk should be something that falls under

Asked on May 10, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The key issue is the cost of the desk: a "reasonable accommodation" is one that is not too costly for the employer. If the desk is a few hundred dollars, it is likely reasonable; if several thousand, it might not be. Assuming the price is reasonable, based on what you write, an adjustable desk if most likely a reasonable accommodation which should be granted you: if you were to file an EEOC complaint and/or sue, you'd likely win. (Initially contact the EEOC if you go down this route: if they can help you, the help is free.) 
An employer may not legally retaliate against you for making an EEOC claim: they can't fire, demote, cut pay, etc. But that doesn't mean that there aren't ways that an angry and subtle employer can't still exact a price for this: e.g. giving you less desirable projects to work on; not giving a holiday or discretionary bonus or giving a smaller one; being tougher on approving vacation scheduling requests, etc. If the desk is not too expensive, the most practical thing may be to buy it yourself, even though you would legally be in the right to pursue a claim.

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